Category Archives: acquisition

Equinix cleared to buy Telecity but must sell London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt facilities

datacentreThe European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of data centre operator Telecity by rival Equinix. However, to assuage anti competition concerns, Equinix had to agree to sell off a number of data centres in Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt.

BCN reported in May that Equinix and TelecityGroup agreed to the $2.35bn takeover in which US-based Equinx would buy all issued Telecity shares. The acquisition gives Equinix a stronger presence in the UK and would extend its footprint into new locations with identified cloud and interconnection needs including Dublin, Helsinki, Istanbul, Milan, Stockholm and Warsaw. Equinix provides colocation services in 33 metropolitan areas worldwide. Telecity operates data centres in 12 metropolitan areas in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Turkey.

However, the activities of Equinix and Telecity overlap in the four EEA metro areas of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London and Paris.

In a statement issued by the EC Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said the growing economic importance of cloud services makes it crucial to maintain competition between data centres. However the deal does not necessarily stifle competition, Vestager said. “The Commission is satisfied that the commitments offered by Equinix will ensure that companies continue to have a choice for hosting their data at competitive prices,” said Vestager.

The Commission has concerns that the concentration of data centres controlled by one vendor could lead to higher prices of colocation services in the Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt metropolitan areas. The remaining competitors in these areas are unlikely to be able to match the competitive pressure currently exercised by Telecity, it had concluded, and new players would have faced significant difficulties to enter the market due to the high investment and deployment times needed.

To address the Commission’s concerns, Equinix submitted commitments, offering to divest a number of data centres in Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt.

Digital Realty completes acquisition of colocation rival Telx for $1.9 billion

datacentreGlobal data centre operator Digital Realty has completed the acquisition of colocation provider Telx in a deal valued at $1.886 billion. Telx will now operate as Digital Realty’s colocation and connectivity line of business.

Funding the acquisition doubles Digital Realty’s footprint in the colocation business and gives it a new interconnection platform, explained William Stein, Digital Realty’s Chief Executive Officer. Digital Realty raised gross proceeds of approximately $1.9 billion of debt and equity capital to fund the Telx acquisition, after settling its forward equity sale transactions with each of its forward counterparties to issue 10.5 million shares and receive $714 million.

Further funding was provided when subsidiary Digital Delta Holdings issued $500 million of 3.400 per cent Notes and $450 million of 4.750 per cent Notes. In August it raised $250 million by closing its underwritten public offering of 10 million shares of 6.350 per cent series I Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock.

Stein said the vendor is looking to blend its technical real estate expertise with a more expansive global reach as customers demand new products and services.

“The combination of Digital Realty’s and Telx’s portfolios of data centres and capacity gives customers the platform they need to grow and compete in a data-driven world.  Our focus will give them the ability to scale on a global basis,” said Stein. The company is now so big that nobody can compete with it, he argued. “This acquisition creates unrivalled choice and value, when and where our customers need it,” said Stein.

Dells finds $67 billion to acquire EMC and create cloud giant

Dell office logoAs extensively leaked PC and server outfit Dell today announced it will be acquiring storage giant EMC for $67 billion to create a leading player in the datacentre and cloud industries.

Dell is privately held by founder Michael Dell and VCs MSD Partners and Silver Lake. The combined company will remain private, while VMWare, which is majority owned by EMC will remain separate and publicly traded. This deal is the biggest tech M&A deal of all time and the resulting company will be one of the world’s largest privately held ones. Dell only cost $25 billion to take private, so it’s asking for a big contribution from its equity partners.

As with any massive M&A scale and efficiencies will be major strategic benefits, but the two companies were also keen to stress how much they complement each other, with Dell strongest in the SMB and public sector markets while EMC’s strongest area is blue-chip corporates. In terms of product portfolio the narrative inevitably refers frequently to end-to-end solutions and that sort of thing.

“The combination of Dell and EMC creates an enterprise solutions powerhouse bringing our customers industry leading innovation across their entire technology environment,” said Michael Dell. “Our new company will be exceptionally well-positioned for growth in the most strategic areas of next generation IT including digital transformation, software-defined data center, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, mobile and security.

“Our investments in R&D and innovation along with our privately-controlled structure will give us unmatched scale, strength and flexibility, deepening our relationships with customers of all sizes. I am incredibly excited to partner with the EMC, VMware, Pivotal, VCE, RSA and Virtustream teams and am personally committed to the success of our new company, our customers and partners.”
“I’m tremendously proud of everything we’ve built at EMC – from humble beginnings as a Boston-based startup to a global, world-class technology company with an unyielding dedication to our customers,” said Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC. “But the waves of change we now see in our industry are unprecedented and, to navigate this change, we must create a new company for a new era. I truly believe that the combination of EMC and Dell will prove to be a winning combination for our customers, employees, partners and shareholders.”
It’s not difficult to spot the customary synergies in this deal. When Dell went private it was primarily to allow a complete strategic overhaul away from the voracious quarterly demands of Wall Street. Fundamentally it wanted to move out of the highly commoditised PC market on which it was founded in the 80s, and into core enterprise IT sectors such as servers.

EMC has been in the enterprise data storage game for even longer, is been threatened by pure play cloud providers and needs to move with the times. Just as with Dell, EMC seems to be betting that removing the rabid short-termism that comes with being a public company will allow it the space to do that and, assuming MSD and Silver Lake remain patient the new company should be able to innovate and compete well in the cloud, virtualization and IoT worlds.

“We are excited and honoured to invest in the outstanding businesses built by Joe Tucci and his world-class management team,” said Egon Durban, managing partner of Silver Lake. “We believe the strategic integration of EMC and Dell will generate unparalleled depth and breadth across servers, storage, virtualization and the next era of converged infrastructure, creating a global technology platform poised for sustained long term growth and innovation in the years to come. We are doubling down and increasing our investment in this differentiated market leader for the next paradigm of enterprise computing.”

The plan is for Michael Dell to run the whole company and Tucci to move on when the deal is done. A deal this size will take a while to get approval and complete, so nothing concrete will happen for a few months yet. But when it does, the cloud market will hopefully be more competitive than ever.

Accenture to buy Cloud Sherpas to help enterprise clients navigate the cloud

Accenture is to acquire advisory firm Cloud Sherpas, for an undisclosed fee, in a bid to beef up its cloud consultancy as more enterprises seek help with their hybrid computing strategies.

If concluded, the takeover will add 1,100 new staff to Accenture’s newly created Cloud First Applications team, which helps enterprises make their first moves towards a shared computing model.

Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas has a similar mission statement, offering to guide enterprises through their cloud migrations. Since its creation in 2007 it has grown a global presence with offices in Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the UK. With its main focus on helping companies to adopt off-premise software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, its major technology partnerships are with Google, Salesforce and ServiceNow.

Cloud Sherpas has been recognised as a Salesforce Global Strategic Consulting Partner and is one of four ServiceNow Master Partners in the world. It has won Google’s Work Partner of the Year on four occasions.

Accenture, one of Salesforce’s first global partners, currently has 2,700 certified professionals. The acquisition of Cloud Sherpas could bring a further 500 certified professionals to its team. It claims to run 13,000 cloud computing projects, with a clientele that includes three-quarters of the Fortune Global 100. It has a total of 17,000 cloud computing professionals.

“Cloud Sherpas was born in the cloud and we are perfectly aligned with Accenture’s cloud first agenda,” said Cloud Sherpas’ CEO David Northington, “The new organisation should prove a good fit for Accenture’s cloud first push.”

Accenture needs the new intake in order to keep up with the rapid pace of cloud adoption by enterprises, according to Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer of Accenture: “We’ve reached a tipping point as our clients rapidly adopt cloud systems.”

Salesforce president Keith Block welcomed the combination of the firm’s two strategic partners. “It’s proof positive of the momentum around our customer success platform,” said Block.

Microsoft unveils cloud security plans for Adallom amid rising cloud unrest

Cloud securityMicrosoft has announced its plans for Israeli founded cloud security firm Adallom, the cloud security firm it bought for a reported $250 million.

Detail of the plans for its new acquisition was unveiled in a Microsoft blog by corporate VP for cloud and enterprise marketing Takeshi Numoto. Though reports of the acquisition emerged in July details of Microsoft’s cloud security strategy have only just been unveiled.

The frequency of advanced cybersecurity attacks has made security ‘top of mind’ among cloud users, according to Numoto. The acquisition of Adallom will expand Microsoft’s existing identity assets by acting as a cloud access security broker, allowing customer to see and control application access, Numoto explained. It will also protect critical company data stored across cloud services. Adallom helps secure and manage popular cloud applications including Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, ServiceNow, Ariba and Microsoft’s own Office 365.

Adallom will complement existing Microsoft offerings as part of Office 365 (serving in a monitoring capacity) and the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), which includes Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Analytics system. Microsoft had previously bought another cloud-security vendor, Aorato, with Israeli Defence Force ties, in 2014. Aorato was rebranded as Advanced Threat Analytics.

Adallom’s technology monitors the use of software-as-a-service applications and was created by founders 2012 by Assaf Rappaport, Ami Luttwak and Roy Reznik who met while serving in intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces.

The unveiling of Microsoft’s cloud defence plans coincides with an independent report, by Osterman Research, that 76 per cent of UK firms are concerned about the lack of security in the cloud, with consumer-grade cloud storage of corporate documents being named as the chief cause of unease.

The report found that employees preferred consumer-focused file sync and share (CFSS) solutions to enterprise-grade file sync and share (EFSS) solutions in the workplace, and often failed to consider the security risk posed by CFSS solutions.

Services that will be monitored by Microsoft’s new cloud security acquisition, such as Dropbox, which allow consumers to instantly sync files across all devices, but do not provide the same protection of information as EFSS, were identified in Osterman Research’s report as a particular cause for concern.

“Use of CFSS over EFSS significantly increases corporate risk and liability,” the Osterman Research report warned.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Adallom team into the Microsoft family,” said Numoto in his Microsoft blog, “cybercrime will persist in this mobile-first, cloud-first era, but at Microsoft we remain committed to helping our customers protect their data.”

Interoute buys Easynet for £402 million

interoute logoNetwork and cloud service operator Interoute has entered an agreement to buy European managed services provider Easynet in a deal valued at £402 million.

Easynet manages services for clients including Sports Direct, EDF, Bouygues, Anglian Water, Bridgestone, Levi Strauss and Campofrio Food Group. It has a twenty year pedigree of running integrated networks, hosting and unified communications solutions to national and global clients. Its data center and cloud computing services include colocation, security, voice and application performance management. It has been appointed by the UK government’s Procurement Service to assist the UK Government in creating a ‘network of networks’ with an emphasis on machine to machine (M2M) development.

Interoute’s technology estate includes 12 data centres, 14 virtual data centres and 31 colocation centres along with connection to 195 additional third-party data centres across Europe. It owns and operates 24 connected city networks within Europe’s major business centres.

According to Interoute, the acquisition means that enterprise, government and service provider customers of the two companies will get a fuller suite of products, services and skillsets.

“These are exciting times for Interoute customers,” said Interoute CEO Gareth Williams, “Interoute is creating a leading, independent European ICT provider. This is the next step in our acquisition strategy and moves us much closer to our goal of being the provider of choice to Europe’s digital economy.”

Easynet CEO Mark Thompson reassured customers that the combination of the two service providers will bring better service to clients of both. “The combined companies can offer broader and deeper connectivity options, as well as an expanded portfolio of products and services,” said Thompson. “The acquisition will expand an already market-leading cloud hosting capability in Europe.”

Williams had previously told analysts that Interoute needed to grow before going public. The takeover will double revenue in the division that sells telecoms services to large companies and government departments.

British telco Easynet became one of the champions of broadband competition in Britain after it was acquired in 2006 by Sky for £211 million. In 2010, Easynet announced its sale from BSkyB (Sky) to Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

In December 2013 the company was acquired by MDNX Group, the UK’s largest independent carrier integrator.

Interoute was recently recognised by market analyst Gartner as a leader in its 2015 Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, Europe report.

Fidelity bid for Colt doesn’t convince directors

Fidelity Investments, which is already the majority shareholder in Colt Group, has bid to acquire the remaining stock of the telecoms and cloud provider, but Colt directors are unconvinced.

The relationship between the two companies is intimate and has been from the very beginning. Fidelity provided the cash to form Colt back in 1992, to provide telecoms services in London. It soon expanded across Europe but in 2001, together with a lot of other telecoms and tech companies, encountered problems requiring a further injection of capital from Fidelity.

For some reason, despite holding its current majority position since then, Fidelity has decided it’s time for Colt to be wholly private once more. “As founders and majority shareholders of Colt, Fidelity is pleased to announce the continuation of its commitment to the business through returning the group to private ownership,” said Cyrus Jilla, President of Eight Roads, the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity.

“We typically hold our proprietary investments outside the financial services industry, such as Colt, in the private domain. This transaction allows us to hold our investment in Colt consistent with this strategy while providing an attractive and certain value for the current Colt independent shareholders.”

The independent directors of Colt, who are there to protect the interests of its shareholders, have publicly acknowledged the offer of 190p per share from Fidelity, but reckon it’s too low.

“The independent directors believe that the offer undervalues the company and its prospects and accordingly they consider that the financial terms of the offer are not fair to the independent shareholders of Colt,” said their statement.

“The independent directors believe that the financial terms of the offer may be considered by some shareholders to be acceptable in the circumstances, and accordingly make no recommendation to shareholders whether or not to accept the offer.

“Over the course of 2015, the management of Colt has been working on a plan to refocus the company’s activities and significantly improve its financial performance. The Board has provisionally approved a new business plan and further details will be announced in due course.”

Colt’s shares were trading at around 156p before the bid and jumped straight up to 190p, implying the market thinks Fidelity’s bid is likely to be accepted.